- Get back to 2016 form
As the closer for the Milwaukee Brewers back in 2016, Jeremy Jeffress did a tremendous job before being traded to Texas at the end of July. 2017 was a much different story. He was pitching so poorly for Texas that they traded him back to Milwaukee for nearly nothing. Jeffress recovered a little bit since his return, but now with a full off season back home and with his support system, Jeffress is able to focus on getting back to where he was in 2016.
- Allow fewer walks
- Use off speed pitches
Josh Hader walked 22 batters in his 35 appearances en route to a 4.2 BB/9, which needs to be cut down significantly. Walks are deadly, but they’re even worse when given up in shorter relief appearances. If he wants to become a starter at some point, he will need to cut down on them. Also, to become a starter, Hader will need to use his off speed pitches more often. He threw his fastball 81.5% of the time in 2017, while using his slider 11.3% of his pitches and his changeup only 7.2%. No matter how good his fastball is, hitters will be able to catch up to it if they see it enough, his resolution should be to use his offspeed more.
- Fewer walks
Jacob Barnes finished with a 4.1 BB/9 and a 4.00 ERA. The high amount of walks likely had a big impact on his high ERA. If Barnes is going to be consistent contributor from the back of the bullpen, he needs to stop walking hitters so much.
- Don’t allow so many walks
- Repeat 2017 success
Corey Knebel needs to cut down on the walks. The Milwaukee Brewers relief corps actually had the highest BB/9 rate in all of Major League Baseball last year. Knebel had a 4.7 BB/9 after allowing 40 walks. It didn’t have a major impact on his ability to finish games but pitchers aren’t always that lucky. Especially as a closer, walks are devastating. To enter into the next tier of closers in baseball, Knebel has to cut down on the walks.
- Pitch past the fifth inning
If Brent Suter wants to become a full time starting pitcher, he’s going to need to be able to go deeper into games than the fifth inning. As soon as opponents get to facing Suter a third time, they’ve figured him out and he becomes ineffective. Given his lack of velocity, he should be given credit for how he makes it work to his advantage. He may have reached his peak potential as a swingman, but he could always work on going deeper.
- Cut down walks
- Cut down on extra base hits
Part of the reason for Oliver Drake‘s ineffectiveness was his 4.0 BB/9. But perhaps a larger reason was the high amount of extra base hits he gave up. 35% of all hits he allowed as a Brewer went for extra bases. Those should be two big points of emphasis going forward for Drake.